Jan 112013
 

Did anyone catch the fascinating history of Australian gold on last night’s episode of Dirty Business: How Mining Made Australia (sbs TV)? If so, you’ll have seen the incredible Goldfields Water Supply Pipeline snaking its way across Western Australia.

A decade ago The Perth Mint was heavily involved in celebrations marking the centenary of the pipeline, one of the most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken in Australia.

Our 1oz Golden Pipeline 1903 – 2003 silver coin, mintage 5,000, was hailed an enormous success after selling out remarkably quickly.

Originally issued for $60, we spotted an example on eBay recently which sold for $159.99. Interested in the fact that the coin still attracts interest, we jumped at the chance to recall details of the famous pipeline and the remarkable man who built it.

Traversing 560 kilometres between the Perth hills and Kalgoorlie, the ‘Golden Pipeline’ delivered freshwater to the thousands of settlers who lived in the often arid conditions surrounding the site of Western Australia’s greatest gold discovery.

Perhaps the world’s longest water main, it facilitated the successful exploitation of this gold and other minerals, in turn driving the State’s economic development, and to this day continues to support households, mines, farms and other enterprises in the Goldfields.

An incredible accomplishment for the time, it was able to be completed thanks to the brilliance of Charles Yelverton O’Connor, “a legendary figure in early colonial civil engineering” (A.G. Evans, C.Y. O’Connor – His Life and Legacy). But what should have been a great triumph for the man turned to personal tragedy before construction was completed.

Confronted by bitter personal attacks on his integrity in the press and in parliament from those who refused to believe the pipeline would work, and suffering from nervous exhaustion, O’Connor committed suicide on a lonely Fremantle beach early in the morning of 10 March 1902.

Charles Yelverton O’Connor (1843-1902)

At the grand ceremonial opening less than a year later, Sir John Forrest, the former State Premier and then Federal cabinet minister, expressed his sadness that the great and fully vindicated engineer “had not lived to receive the honour so justly due to him”.

For this and other outstanding engineering achievements, biographer Tony Evans believes O’Connor deserves to be recognised as one of the great historical figures in Australia as a whole, as do, presumably, those that continue to show interest in the anniversary coin.

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Jan 082013
 

With the release of our Forever Love coin earlier this month, we were reminded that coins engraved with messages of love are inextricably linked with Australia’s colonial history.

Before sailing for ‘Botany Bay’, many convicts expressed their feelings on the smoothed surfaces of English copper coins. Known as “leaden hearts”, they were slipped to family, friends and sweethearts for convicts to be remembered by.

According to the National Museum of Australia, these poignant tokens might feature the length of the convict’s sentence and popular phrases and rhymes of separation. Thomas Lock, for example, was sentenced at Norwich to 10 years transportation for highway robbery in 1845. On a shaved down 1797 penny, he stippled the following words:

Thomas Lock, Aged 22, Transped. 10 years
When this you see, remember me, when I am far from the(e)

Photo: Dragi Markovic, National Museum of Australia.

The son of William and Frances Lock, Thomas had three brothers and a sister. Serving time on Norfolk Island and at Port Arthur in Van Diemen’s Land, it is not known whether he ever saw his family again.

The Museum hosts the world’s largest collection of convict love tokens. Not only touching examples of how human creativity can survive even against the most daunting odds, the tokens are significant as tangible record of the convicts’ own voices.

Forever Love 2013 1/2oz Silver Proof Coin

Our latest coin was designed in altogether happier circumstances! Portraying dolphins representing loyalty, harmony and good fortune, the 2013 release is the perfect token of love for this coming St. Valentine’s Day. But please hurry to secure your coin as previous releases have been quick to sell out.

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Jan 072013
 

The Perth Mint and Australia Post are pleased to celebrate the 2013 Year of the Snake with this superb Stamp and Coin Cover.

We think it would make a fantastic gift for anyone born in the Year of the Snake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 and 2013), who is regarded as intelligent, graceful, independent, analytical and charming!

More information.

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Jan 042013
 

It is 200 years since 40,000 Spanish silver dollars were cut and counter-stamped to create the first distinctive Australian coins. To mark this important anniversary, we’ve issued a commemorative Holey Dollar & Dump Set in pure silver.

Take a close look at the new coins in this video, which briefly re-tells the story of the original Holey Dollar & Dump. Then check below for some incredible facts about the first coins struck in Australia.

  • The NSW colonial government’s official coiner in 1813 was William Henshall, a former convict who had been transported from England having been found guilty of counterfeiting “Bank of England dollars”.
  • Instead of three months originally envisaged by Governor Macquarie, the project to convert the 40,000 Spanish dollars took more than a year to complete. Although dated 1813, the new coins did not go into circulation until the following year.
  • Henshall had to make machinery to cut and stamp the coins, which broke down several times. These failures help explain why about 90 of the original coins were spoiled during re-striking and never issued, and why the protracted manufacturing task was not finished until August 1814.
  • Macquarie was no doubt aware of earlier holey, ring or pierced dollars developed in other cash-strapped British colonies. Coincidentally, just as Henshall was labouring in Sydney, Prince Edward Island (Canada) was making its own Holey Dollar & Dumps.
  • The administration of NSW began recalling Holey Dollars and Dumps and replacing them with sterling coinage from 1822. They were finally ‘demonetised’ in 1829, then melted down and sold to the Bank of England as bullion.
  • A few managed to avoid the smelter. Today, some 300 Holey Dollars are known to have survived and about  800 Dumps.

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Jan 032013
 

A popular annual release from The Perth Mint, the Gilded Koala is struck from 1oz of 99.9% pure silver. This year’s iconic design portrays an adult koala gilded in 24-carat gold, sitting in the branches a eucalyptus tree. Issued as Australian legal tender, this handsome coin is the stunning prize on offer in our latest anagram competition.

For your chance to win, simply rearrange the following letters to solve the anagram!

Clue: Another name for the koala!

How to enter: Email your answer to anagram@perthmint.com.au. Mark your reply or subject line ‘January 2013 Anagram Competition’ and include your name, telephone and membership number, or the Twitter username you use to follow @perthmint. Entries close on 4 February 2013. Eligible entrants will be included in the free draw and the winner will be notified by telephone or email. (T&Cs)

Last Month’s Winner: Congratulations to David Roy, Ottawa, Canada.

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Jan 032013
 

Happy New Year and welcome to our first new coin release of 2013. Inside the catalogue you’ll find a sumptuous choice of sparkling new coins featuring a diverse range of themes for all tastes.

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Purchase these new releases on our website.

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